Are today’s Tea Partiers tomorrow’s lobbyists? 

Will the “Tea Party” candidates coming to town next year on a wave of anti-establishment, pro-freedom fury soon sell out? Dan McCarthy at the American Conservative thinks so:

we’ve seen Republican revolutionaries turn into K Street kittens before — not only in the years following the GOP’s 1994 takeover of Congress, but also much earlier when the grassroots Goldwaterites and young, idealistic YAFers learned how much money they could make by playing within the system. Carney’s exactly right when he says, “You can see today, by their improved personal financial situations, what Lott and Dole were trying to accomplish in Washington.” Unfortunately, what’s true of Lott and Dole is true of the leaders of pretty much every “conservative” organization in this town, as the Bush years demonstrated.

I’m not going to reject McCarthy’s cynicism — that’s usually the correct disposition in this town. I do have one reason to hope many of these Tea Party types will resist the allures of K Street and the GOP leadership: The leadership and K Street have so vigorously opposed them, that when they get here, maybe they’ll flip the bird to the leadership.

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Timothy P. Carney

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